Microtubules (MTs) composed of αβ-tubulin heterodimers are highly dynamic polymers, whose stability can be regulated by numerous endogenous and exogenous factors. Both the anti-mitotic drug, Taxol, and microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs) stabilize this dynamicity by binding to and altering the conformation of MTs. In the current study, amide hydrogen/deuterium exchange coupled with mass spectrometry (HDX-MS) was used to examine the structural and dynamic properties of the MT complex with the microtubule binding domain of MAP4 (MTB-MAP4) in the presence and absence of Taxol. The changes in the HDX levels indicate that MTB-MAP4 may bind to both the outside and the luminal surfaces of the MTs, and that Taxol reduces both of these interactions. The MTB-MAP4 binding induces conformational rearrangements of α- and β-tubulin that promote an overall stabilization of MTs. Paradoxically, despite Taxol’s negative effects on MAP4 interactions with the MTs, its binding to the MTB-MAP4-MT complex further reduces the overall deuterium incorporation, suggesting that a more stable complex is formed in the presence of the drug.
The serotonin type 3 receptor (5-HT3R) is a ligand-gated ion channel that mediates fast synaptic transmission in the central and peripheral nervous systems. The 5-HT3R is a therapeutic target, and the clinically available drugs ondansetron and granisetron inhibit receptor activity. Their inhibitory action is through competitive binding to the native ligand binding site, although the binding orientation of the drugs at the receptor has been a matter of debate. Here we heterologously express mouse 5-HT3A receptors in Xenopus oocytes and use unnatural amino acid mutagenesis to establish a cation-π interaction for both ondansetron and granisetron to tryptophan 183 in the ligand binding pocket. This cation-π interaction establishes a binding orientation for both ondansetron and granisetron within the binding pocket.
Zinc (Zn2+) homeostasis plays a vital role in cell function, and the dysregulation of intracellular Zn2+ is associated with mitochondrial dysfunction. Few tools exist to quantitatively monitor the buffered, free Zn2+ concentration in mitochondria of living cells ([Zn2+]mito). We have validated three high dynamic range, ratiometric, genetically encoded, fluorescent Zn2+ sensors that we have successfully used to precisely measure and monitor [Zn2+]mito in several cell types. Using one of these sensors, called mito-ZapCY1, we report observations that free Zn2+ is buffered at concentrations about 3 orders of magnitude lower in mitochondria than in the cytosol, and that HeLa cells expressing mito-ZapCY1 have an average [Zn2+]mito of 0.14 pM, which differs significantly from other cell types. These optimized mitochondrial Zn2+ sensors could improve our understanding of the relationship between Zn2+ homeostasis and mitochondrial function.
genetically encoded FRET sensor; zinc homeostasis; mitochondrial zinc
The development of small molecule chemical probes or therapeutics that target RNA remains a significant challenge despite the great interest in such compounds. The most significant barrier to compound development is a lack of knowledge of the chemical and RNA motif spaces that interact specifically. Herein, we describe a bioactive small molecule probe that targets expanded r(CGG) repeats, or r(CGG)exp , that causes Fragile X-associated Tremor Ataxia Syndrome (FXTAS). The compound was identified by using information on the chemotypes and RNA motifs that interact. Specifically, 9-hydroxy-5,11-dimethyl-2-(2-(piperidin-1-yl)ethyl)-6H-pyrido[4,3-b]carbazol-2-ium, binds the 5’CGG/3’GGC motifs in r(CGG)exp and disrupts a toxic r(CGG)exp -protein complex in vitro. Structure-activity relationships (SAR) studies determined that the alkylated pyridyl and phenolic side chains are important chemotypes that drive molecular recognition to r(CGG)exp . Importantly, the compound is efficacious in FXTAS model cellular systems as evidenced by its ability to improve FXTAS-associated pre-mRNA splicing defects and to reduce the size and number of r(CGG)exp -protein aggregates. This approach may establish a general strategy to identify lead ligands that target RNA while also providing a chemical probe to dissect the varied mechanisms by which r(CGG)exp promotes toxicity.
There is significant progress toward understanding catalysis throughout the essential MEP pathway to isoprenoids in human pathogens; however, little is known about pathway regulation. The present study begins by testing the hypothesis that isoprenoid biosynthesis is regulated via feedback inhibition of the fifth enzyme cyclodiphosphate IspF by downstream isoprenoid diphosphates. Here, we demonstrate recombinant E. coli IspF is not inhibited by downstream metabolites and isopentenyl diphosphate (IDP), dimethylallyl diphosphate (DMADP), geranyl diphosphate (GDP) and farnesyl diphosphate (FDP) under standard assay conditions. However, 2C-methyl-d-erythritol 4-phosphate (MEP), the product of reductoisomerase IspC and first committed MEP pathway intermediate, activates and sustains this enhanced IspF activity, and the IspF-MEP complex is inhibited by FDP. We further show that the methylerythritol scaffold itself, which is unique to this pathway, drives the activation and stabilization of active IspF. Our results suggest a novel feed-forward regulatory mechanism for 2Cmethyl-d-erythritol 2,4-cyclodiphosphate (MEcDP) production and support an isoprenoid biosynthesis regulatory mechanism via feedback inhibition of the IspF-MEP complex by FDP. The results have important implications for development of inhibitors against the IspF-MEP complex, which may be the physiologically relevant form of the enzyme.
cyclodiphosphate synthase; IspF; methylerythritol phosphate; MEP pathway regulation
The generation of highly curved membranes is essential to cell growth, division and movement. Recent research in the field is focused to answer questions related to the consequences of changes in the topology of the membrane once it is created, broadly termed as membrane curvature sensing. Most probes that are used to study curvature sensing are intact membrane active proteins like DP1/Yop1p, ArfGAP1, BAR domains, and Synaptotagmin-I (Syt1). Taking a cue from nature, we created the cyclic peptide C2BL3C based on the membrane penetration C2B loop 3 of Syt1 via ‘Click’ chemistry. Using a combination of spectroscopic techniques, we investigated the peptide-lipid interactions of this peptide with synthetic phospholipid vesicles and exosomes from rat blood plasma. We found that the macrocycle peptide probe was selective for lipid vesicles with highly curved surfaces (d <100 nm). These results suggested that C2BL3C functions as a selective detector of highly curved phospholipid bilayers.
MbtA is an adenylating enzyme from Mycobacterium tuberculosis that catalyzes the first step in the biosynthesis of the mycobactins. A potent bisubstrate inhibitor (Sal-AMS) of MbtA was previously described that displays potent antitubercular activity under iron-replete as well as iron-deficient growth conditions. This finding is surprising since mycobactin biosynthesis is not required under iron-replete conditions and suggests off-target inhibition of additional biochemical pathways. As a first step towards a complete understanding of the mechanism of action of Sal-AMS, we have designed and validated an activity-based probe (ABP) for studying Sal-AMS inhibition in M. tuberculosis. This probe labels pure MbtA as well as MbtA in mycobacterial lysate and labeling can be completely inhibited by preincubation with Sal-AMS. Furthermore, this probe provides a prototypical core scaffold for the creation of ABPs to profile any of the other 66 adenylating enzymes in Mtb or the multitude of adenylating enzymes in other pathogenic bacteria.
Many bacterial pathogens use quorum sensing (QS) to control virulence. As a result, the development of methods to intercept QS has attracted significant interest as a potential anti-infective therapy. Acinetobacter baumannii has emerged as a pan-drug resistant pathogen and displays a remarkable ability to persist in hospital settings despite desiccation and antimicrobial treatment. Recent studies have shown that A. baumannii QS mutants have limited motility and fail to form mature biofilms – these phenotypes are linked to its ability to persist on biotic and abiotic surfaces and increase its pathogenicity. A. baumannii uses N-(3-hydroxydodecanoyl)-l-homoserine lactone (OH-dDHL) and its putative cognate receptor, AbaR, for QS. We sought to identify non-native ligands capable of blocking or promoting AbaR activity in A. baumannii for use as chemical probes to modulate QS phenotypes in this pathogen. We screened a focused library of synthetic, non-native N-acyl homoserine lactones (AHLs) to identify such compounds, and several highly potent antagonists and agonists were uncovered, with IC50 and EC50 values in the low micromolar range, respectively. The strongest AbaR antagonists largely contained aromatic acyl groups, whereas the AbaR agonists closely resembled OH-dDHL. Notably, the 10 most potent AbaR antagonists also strongly inhibited A. baumannii motility, and five antagonists reduced biofilm formation in A. baumannii by up to 40%. The discovery of these compounds is significant, as they represent, to our knowledge, the first non-native modulators of QS in A. baumannii to be reported and could find utility as new tools to study the role and timing of QS phenotypes in A. baumannii infections.
The microtubule associated protein tau (MAPT/tau) aberrantly accumulates in fifteen neurodegenerative diseases, termed tauopathies. One way to treat tauopathies may be to accelerate tau clearance, but the molecular mechanisms governing tau stability are not yet clear. We recently identified chemical probes that markedly accelerate the clearance of tau in cellular and animal models. In the current study, we used one of these probes in combination with immunoprecipitation and mass spectrometry to identify 48 proteins whose association with tau changes during the first 10 minutes after treatment. These proteins included known modifiers of tau proteotoxicity, such as ILF-2 (NFAT), ILF-3, and ataxin-2. A striking observation from the dataset was that tau binding to heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) decreased while binding to Hsp90 significantly increased. Both chaperones have been linked to tau homeostasis, but their mechanisms have not been established. Using peptide arrays and binding assays, we found that Hsp70 and Hsp90 appeared to compete for binding to shared sites on tau. Further, the Hsp90-bound complex proved to be important in initiating tau clearance in cells. These results suggest that the relative levels of Hsp70 and Hsp90 may help determine whether tau is retained or degraded. Consistent with this model, analysis of reported microarray expression data from Alzheimer’s disease patients and age-matched controls showed that the levels of Hsp90 are reduced in the diseased hippocampus. These studies suggest that Hsp70 and Hsp90 work together to coordinate tau homeostasis.
The Kv1 family voltage-dependent K+ channels are essential for termination of action potentials in neurons and myocytes. These channels form a stable complex with their beta subunits (Kvβ), some of which inhibit channel activity. Cortisone potentiates Kv1 channel by binding to Kvβ and promoting its dissociation from the channel, but its half-maximum effective concentration is ~46 μM. To identify corticosteroids that are more efficient than cortisone, we examined 25 cortisone analogs and found that fluticasone propionate potentiates channel current with a half-maximum effective concentration (EC50) of 37 ± 1.1 nM. Further studies showed that fluticasone propionate potentiates channel current by inducing dissociation of Kvβ, and docking of fluticasone propionate into the cortisone binding site reveals potential interactions that enhance the EC50 value. Thus, fluticasone propionate provides a starting point for rational design of more efficient small-molecule compounds that increase Kv1 activity and affect the integrity of the Kv1-Kvβ complex.
The Morita-Baylis-Hillman reaction forms a carbon-carbon bond between the alpha carbon of a conjugated carbonyl compound and a carbon electrophile. The reaction mechanism involves Michael addition of a nucleophile catalyst at the carbonyl beta carbon, followed by bond formation with the electrophile and catalyst disassociation to release the product. We used Rosetta to design 48 proteins containing active sites predicted to carry out this mechanism, of which two show catalytic activity by mass spectrometry (MS). Substrate labeling measured by MS and site-directed mutagenesis experiments show that the designed active-site residues are responsible for activity, although rate acceleration over background is modest. To characterize the designed proteins, we developed a fluorescence-based screen for intermediate formation in cell lysates, carried out microsecond molecular dynamics simulations, and solved X-ray crystal structures. These data indicate a partially formed active site, and suggest several clear avenues for designing more active catalysts.
Detection of antibodies is essential for the diagnosis of many diseases including infections, allergies and autoimmune diseases. Current heterogeneous immunoassays require multiple time-consuming binding and washing steps, which limits their application in point-of-care diagnostics and high-throughput screening. Here we report switchable reporter enzymes that allow simple colorimetric detection of antibodies directly in solution. Our approach is based on the antibody-induced disruption of an intramolecular interaction between TEM1-β-lactamase and its inhibitor protein BLIP. Using the HIV1-p17 antibody as an initial target, the interaction between enzyme and inhibitor was carefully tuned to yield a reporter enzyme whose activity increased 10-fold in the presence of pM antibody concentrations. Reporter enzymes for two other antibodies (HA-tag and Dengue virus type I) were obtained by simply replacing the epitope sequences. This new sensor design represents a modular and generic approach to construct antibody reporter enzymes without the cumbersome optimization required by previous engineering strategies.
Aberrant activation of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is critical to the biology of many common cancers. The molecular events that define how EGFR transmits an extracellular ligand binding event through the membrane are not understood. Here we use a chemical tool, bipartite tetracysteine display, to report on ligand-specific conformational changes that link ligand binding and kinase activation for full-length EGFR on the mammalian cell surface. We discover that EGF binding is communicated to the cytosol through formation of an antiparallel coiled coil within the intracellular juxtamembrane (JM) domain. This interaction is functionally coupled to receptor activation by EGF. In contrast, TGFα binding is communicated to the cytosol through formation of a discrete, alternative helical interface. These findings suggest that the JM region can differentially decode extracellular signals and transmit them to the cell interior, and provide new insight into how EGFR communicates ligand-specific information across the membrane.
“Trojan horse” antibiotic albomycins are peptidyl nucleosides consisting of a highly modified 4′-thiofuranosyl cytosine moiety and a ferrichrome siderophore that are linked by a peptide bond via a serine residue. While the latter component serves to sequester iron from the environment, the seryl nucleoside portion is a potent inhibitor of bacterial seryl-tRNA synthetases, resulting in broad-spectrum antimicrobial activities of albomycin δ2. The isolation of albomycins has revealed this biological activity is only optimized following two unusual cytosine modifications, N4-carbamoylation and N3-methylation. We identified a genetic locus (named abm) for albomycin production in Streptomyces sp. ATCC 700974. Gene deletion and complementation experiments along with bioinformatic analysis suggested 18 genes are responsible for albomycin biosynthesis and resistance, allowing us to propose a potential biosynthetic pathway for installing the novel chemical features. The gene abmI, encoding a putative methyltransferase, was functionally assigned in vitro and shown to modify the N3 of a variety of cytosine-containing nucleosides and antibiotics such as blasticidin S. Furthermore, a ΔabmI mutant was shown to produce the descarbamoyl-desmethyl albomycin analog, supporting that the N3-methylation occurs before the N4-carbamoylation in the biosynthesis of albomycin δ2. The combined genetic information was utilized to identify an abm-related locus (named ctj) from the draft genome of Streptomyces sp. C. Cross-complementation experiments and in vitro studies with CtjF, the AbmI homolog, suggest the production of a similar 4′-thiofuranosyl cytosine in this organism. In total, the genetic and biochemical data provide a biosynthetic template for assembling siderophore-inhibitor conjugates, and modifying the albomycin scaffold to generate new derivatives.
Although small molecule actin modulators have been widely used as research tools, only one cell permeable small molecule inhibitor of actin depolymerization (jasplakinolide) is commercially available. We report that the natural product cucurbitacin E inhibits actin depolymerization and show that its mechanism of action is different from jasplakinolide. In assays using pure fluorescently labeled actin, cucurbitacin E specifically affected depolymerization without affecting polymerization. It inhibited actin depolymerization at sub-stoichiometric concentrations up to 1:6 cucurbitacin:actin E. Cucurbitacin E specifically binds to filamentous actin (F-actin) forming a covalent bond at residue Cys257, but not to monomeric actin (G-actin). Based on its compatibility with phalloidin staining, we show that cucurbitacin E occupies a different binding site on actin filaments. Using loss of fluorescence after localized photoactivation, we found that cucurbitacin E inhibited actin depolymerization in live cells. Cucurbitacin E is a widely available plant-derived natural product, making it a useful tool to study actin dynamics in cells and actin-based processes such as cytokinesis.
Nine neurodegenerative disorders are caused by the abnormal expansion of polyglutamine (polyQ) regions within distinct proteins. Genetic and biochemical evidence has documented that the molecular chaperone, heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70), modulates polyQ toxicity and aggregation, yet it remains unclear how Hsp70 might be used as a potential target in polyQ-related diseases. We have utilized a pair of membrane-permeable compounds that tune the activity of Hsp70 by either stimulating or by inhibiting its ATPase functions. Using these two pharmacological agents in both yeast and PC12 cell models of polyQ aggregation and toxicity, we were surprised to find that stimulating Hsp70 solubilized polyQ conformers and simultaneously exacerbated polyQ-mediated toxicity. By contrast, inhibiting Hsp70’s ATPase activity protected against polyQ toxicity and promoted aggregation. These findings clarify Hsp70’s role as a possible drug target in polyQ disorders and suggest that Hsp70 uses ATP hydrolysis to help partition polyQ proteins into structures with varying levels of proteotoxicity. Our results thus support an emerging concept in which certain kinds of polyQ aggregates may be protective, while more soluble polyQ species are toxic.
polyQ; protein misfolding; molecular chaperones; heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70); proteostasis; chemical genetics; chemical probes
Sialidases hydrolytically remove sialic acids from sialylated glycoproteins and glycolipids. Sialidases are widely distributed in nature and sialidase-mediated desialylation is implicated in normal and pathological processes. However, mechanisms by which sialidases exert their biological effects remain obscure, in part because sialidase substrate preferences are poorly defined. Here we report the design and implementation of a sialidase substrate specificity assay based on chemoselective labeling of sialosides. We show that this assay identifies components of glycosylated substrates that contribute to sialidase specificity. We demonstrate that specificity of sialidases can depend on structure of the underlying glycan, a characteristic difficult to discern using typical sialidase assays. Moreover, we discovered that S. pneumoniae sialidase NanC strongly prefers sialosides containing the Neu5Ac form of sialic acid, versus those that contain Neu5Gc. We propose using this approach to evaluate sialidase preferences for diverse potential substrates.
Binding of the Fc domain of Immunoglobulin G (IgG) to Fcγ receptors on leukocytes can initiate a series of signaling events resulting in antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) and other important immune responses. Fc domains lacking glycosylation at N297 have greatly diminished Fcγ receptor binding and lack the ability to initiate a robust ADCC response. Earlier structural studies of Fc domains with either full length or truncated N297 glycans led to the proposal that these glycans can stabilize an “open” Fc conformation recognized by Fcγ receptors. We determined the structure of an E. coli expressed, aglycosylated human Fc domain at 3.1 Å resolution and observed significant disorder in the C′E loop, a region critical for Fcγ receptor binding, as well as a decrease in distance between the CH2 domains relative to glycosylated Fc structures. However, comparison of the aglycosylated human Fc structure with enzymatically deglycosylated Fc structures revealed large differences in the relative orientations and distances between CH2 domains. To provide a better appreciation of the physiologically relevant conformation of the Fc domain in solution, we determined Radii of Gyration (Rg) by small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and found that the aglycosylated Fc displays a larger Rg than glycosylated Fc, suggesting a more open CH2 orientation under these conditions. Moreover, the Rg of aglycosylated Fc was reduced by mutations at the CH2-CH3 interface (E382V/M428I), which confer highly selective binding to FcγRI and novel biological activities.
Immunoglobulin G; Fc; aglycosylated; Antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity; X-ray crystal structure; Small angle X-ray Scattering
New approaches for imaging dynamic processes involving RNAs in living cells are continuously being developed and optimized. The use of molecular beacons synthesized from 2'-O-methylribonucleotides (which are resistant to cellular nucleases) is an established approach for visualizing native mRNAs in real time. In order to spatially and temporally resolve dynamic steps involving RNA in cells, molecular beacons need to efficiently hybridize to their RNA targets. To expand the repertoire of target sites accessible to molecular beacons, we decreased the length of their probe sequences and altered their backbone by the inclusion of LNA (locked nucleic acid) nucleotides. We named these new LNA/2'-O-methyl RNA chimera oligonucleotides, “tiny molecular beacons”. We analyzed these tiny molecular beacons and found that the incorporation of just a few LNA nucleotides enables these shorter probes to stably anneal to more structured regions of the RNA than is possible with conventional molecular beacons. The ease of synthesis of tiny molecular beacons, and the flexibility to couple them to a large variety of fluorophores and quenchers, renders them optimal for the detection of less abundant and/or highly structured RNAs. To determine their efficiency to detect endogenous mRNAs in live specimens, we designed tiny molecular beacons that were specific for oskar mRNA and microinjected them into living Drosophila melanogaster oocytes. We then imaged the live oocytes via spinning disc confocal microscopy. The results demonstrate that tiny molecular beacons hybridize to target mRNA at faster rates than classically designed molecular beacons, and are able to access previously inaccessible target regions.
Nuclear Receptors (NRs) are ligand-regulated transcription factors, many of which are validated targets for clinical purposes. The retinoic acid receptor-related orphan nuclear receptors alpha and gamma t (RORα and RORγt) are considered the master regulators of development of TH17 cells, a subset of T cells that have been implicated in the pathology of several autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). We report here the identification of a novel RORγ-specific synthetic ligand, SR1555, which not only inhibits TH17 cell development and function, but also increases the frequency of T regulatory cells. Our data suggests synthetic RORγ ligands can be developed that target both suppression of TH17 and stimulation of T regulatory cells offering key advantages in development of therapeutics targeting autoimmune diseases.
An understanding of the biological roles of lectins will be advanced by ligands that can inhibit or even recruit lectin function. To this end, glycomimetics, non-carbohydrate ligands that function analogously to endogenous carbohydrates, are being sought. The advantage of having such ligands is illustrated by the many roles of the protein DC-SIGN. DC-SIGN is a C-type lectin displayed on dendritic cells, where it binds to mannosides and fucosides to mediate interactions with other host cells or bacterial or viral pathogens. DC-SIGN engagement can modulate host immune responses (e.g., suppress autoimmunity) or benefit pathogens (e.g., promote HIV dissemination). DC-SIGN can bind to glycoconjugates, internalize glycosylated cargo for antigen processing, and transduce signals. DC-SIGN ligands can serve as inhibitors as well as probes of the lectin’s function, so they are especially valuable for elucidating and controlling DC-SIGN’s roles in immunity. We previously reported a small molecule that embodies key features of the carbohydrates that bind DC-SIGN. Here, we demonstrate that this non-carbohydrate ligand acts as a true glycomimetic. Using NMR HSQC experiments, we found that the compound mimics saccharide ligands: It occupies the same carbohydrate-binding site and interacts with the same side chain residues on DC-SIGN. The glycomimetic also is functional. It had been shown previously to antagonize DC-SIGN function but here we use it to generate DC-SIGN agonists. Specifically, appending this glycomimetic to a protein scaffold affords a conjugate that elicits key cellular signaling responses. Thus, the glycomimetic can give rise to functional glycoprotein surrogates that elicit lectin-mediated signaling.
The development of HIV-1 protease inhibitors has been the historic paradigm of rational structure-based drug design, where structural and thermodynamic analyses have assisted in the discovery of novel inhibitors. While the total enthalpy and entropy change upon binding determine the affinity, often the thermodynamics are considered in terms of inhibitor properties only. In the current study, profound changes are observed in the binding thermodynamics of a drug resistant variant compared to wild-type HIV-1 protease, irrespective of the inhibitor bound. This variant (Flap+) has a combination of flap and active site mutations and exhibits extremely large entropy-enthalpy compensation compared to wild-type protease, 5–15 kcal/mol, while losing only 1–3 kcal/mol in total binding free energy for any of six FDA approved inhibitors. Although entropy-enthalpy compensation has been previously observed for a variety of systems, never have changes of this magnitude been reported. The co-crystal structures of Flap+ protease with four of the inhibitors were determined and compared with complexes of both the wildtype protease and another drug resistant variant that does not exhibit this energetic compensation. Structural changes conserved across the Flap+ complexes, which are more pronounced for the flaps covering the active site, likely contribute to the thermodynamic compensation. The finding that drug resistant mutations can profoundly modulate the relative thermodynamic properties of a therapeutic target independent of the inhibitor presents a new challenge for rational drug design.
There is a pressing need for new molecular tools to target protein surfaces with high affinity and specificity. Here, we describe cyclic messenger RNA display with a trillion-member covalent peptide macrocycle library. Using this library, we have designed a number of high-affinity, redox-insensitive, cyclic peptides that target the signaling protein Gαi1. In addition to cyclization, our library construction took advantage of an expanded genetic code, utilizing nonsense suppression to insert N-methylphenylalanine as a 21st amino acid. The designed macrocycles exhibit several intriguing features. First, the core motif seen in all of the selected variants is the same and shares an identical context with respect to the macrocyclic scaffold, consistent with the idea that selection simultaneously optimizes both the cyclization chemistry and the structural placement of the binding epitope. Second, detailed characterization of one molecule, cyclic Gαi binding peptide (cycGiBP), demonstrates substantially enhanced proteolytic stability relative to that of the parent linear molecule. Third and perhaps most important, the cycGiBP peptide binds the target with very high affinity (Ki ≈ 2.1 nM), similar to those of many of the best monoclonal antibodies and higher than that of the βγ heterodimer, an endogenous Gαi1 ligand. Overall the work provides a general route to design novel, low-molecular-weight, high-affinity ligands that target protein surfaces.
Transcriptional activity from a specified promoter can provide a useful marker for the physiological state of a cell. Here we introduce a method for selective tagging of proteins made in cells in which specified promoters are active. Tagged proteins can be modified with affinity reagents for enrichment or with fluorescent dyes for visualization. The method allows state-selective analysis of the proteome, whereby proteins synthesized in pre-determined physiological states can be identified. The approach is demonstrated by proteome-wide labeling of bacterial proteins upon activation of the PBAD promoter and the SoxRS regulon, and provides a basis for analysis of more complex systems including spatially heterogeneous microbial cultures and biofilms.
The proteasome is the degradation machine at the center of the ubiquitin-proteasome system and controls the concentrations of many proteins in eukaryotes. It is highly processive so that substrates are degraded completely into small peptides, avoiding the formation of potentially toxic fragments. Nonetheless, some proteins are incompletely degraded, indicating the existence of factors that influence proteasomal processivity. We have quantified proteasomal processivity and determined the underlying rates of substrate degradation and release. We find that processivity increases with species complexity over a 5-fold range between yeast and mammalian proteasome, and the effect is due to slower but more persistent degradation by proteasomes from more complex organisms. A sequence stretch that has been implicated in causing incomplete degradation, the glycine-rich region of the NFκB subunit p105, reduces the proteasome’s ability to unfold its substrate, and polyglutamine repeats such as found in Huntington’s disease reduce the processivity of the proteasome in a length-dependent manner.